Food Stamps: Illinois Link Card Schedule for December and Where To Find SNAP Discounts

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The Department of Human Services (DHS) administers SNAP in Illinois, which helps low-income households purchase food they need for good health. Illinois SNAP recipients can expect their benefit payments to be deposited monthly on the Illinois Link Card. SNAP benefits follow the same deposit schedule every month, including December 2022.

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Link Cards are issued once approved for benefits from the Illinois DHS. The Illinois Link Card is accepted at most grocery stores and over 9,000 retailers in Illinois. Look for a display of the Illinois Link card or a sign that says “Illinois Link accepted here.”

You can use the Illinois Link Card to purchase:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry and fish
  • Dairy products
  • Breads and cereals
  • Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat

The U.S. Department of Agriculture does have restrictions on how you can use your SNAP benefits. Among the items you can’t buy with SNAP benefits are alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins, medicines, supplements, live animals, pet foods, cleaning supplies, paper products and cosmetics.

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How To Score EBT Discounts

There are additional ways to save money using your Illinois Link Card. Here are discounts or free services available to SNAP recipients to use in December:

  • Amazon Prime: Illinois SNAP recipients can sign up for an Amazon Prime EBT Discount for $6.99 per month, which is 50% off the regular price.
  • Computers/internet/cell phones: Through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), eligible SNAP recipients in Illinois could receive up to a $30 per month discount on internet service plus a $100 credit toward an eligible laptop, tablet, or desktop computer. The Lifeline federal program, which provides up to $9.25 off your mobile phone bill or home broadband internet service, can also be combined with the ACP discount.
  • Farmers’ markets: You can use your Link Card at certified farmers’ markets and farm stands to save money. The Link Up Illinois program allows cardholders who spend $25 at farmers’ markets to receive a matching $25 to spend on fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Museums/zoos/aquariums: The nationwide Museums for All initiative gives Link Cardholders free or discounted admission to hundreds of museums, aquariums and zoos nationwide.
  • Restaurant Meals Program: In Illinois, you can also use your Link Card to purchase hot meals through the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP). Not every restaurant is part of RMP, so make sure to call and ask before attempting to purchase a meal with your Link Card.

The date on which payments are deposited onto your Link Card depends on the last number of your case number. If you had a SNAP case that was converted from a legacy case, you will keep your legacy availability date of either the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 13th, 17th or 20th.

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Benefits for new cases are deposited between the 1st and 10th of every month. The date you receive benefits depends on the last digit of the head of household’s individual identification number.

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Here is the December 2022 deposit schedule for new cases on the Illinois Link system:

IES head of household individual number ends in:Newly approved case benefit availability dates:
1Dec. 1st
2Dec. 2nd
3Dec. 3rd
4Dec. 4th
5Dec. 5th
6Dec. 6th
7Dec. 7th
8Dec. 8th
9Dec. 9th
0Dec. 10th
Source: IDHS

Regular roll benefits are available by 3:00 a.m. on the same date every month, including holidays and weekends.

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SNAP recipients will receive another big payment in December that includes the 12.5% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) approved for 2023. The COLA for 2023 will run through Sept. 30, 2023, which will help SNAP recipients deal with rising food costs.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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